oBike announced in June last year that it has exited the Singapore market, citing difficulties with Land Transport Authority (LTA) regulations after about 18 months of operation here.
The announcement came after the huge uproar regarding how oBike was converting the $49 deposit in their idle accounts into Super VIP Membership Subscriptions without consent — which they later blamed on a “technical lapse”.
This sudden departure also meant that owed users were left stranded, with no idea whether they could still get refunds for their $49 deposit.
Liquidator FTI Consulting revealed that the amount owed totalled to $8.91 million, but only $439,878.43 worth of claims have been filed so far.
According to oBike’s records, it has more than 220,000 deposit holders in Singapore.
The majority of this figure has yet to file claims, and even for those who have done so, there is no targeted timeline as to when they can get their deposits back.
The filing for refunds took place last Wednesday at a meeting with oBike’s creditors. About 18 people attended, made up of both oBike users with unrefunded deposits along with companies which are owed money.
As of Tuesday noon, trade creditors, vendors, regulatory agencies and town councils, have filed about $768,700 worth of claims against oBike — this is higher than the expected $497,700 as stated in the firm’s records.
oBike’s New Owners To Help Settle Outstanding Claims
According to FTI’s senior managing director Joshua Taylor, they have recovered about $541,000 from oBike selling its bicycles and recovering funds held by third-party service providers.
However, creditors are unlikely to receive a payout from this sum.
“That is an option, but if you look at it, there’s cost and expenses associated with liquidation… so if we did that I don’t think there will be a great return at all to creditors,” Taylor told The Straits Times.
The only saving grace for creditors now is oBike’s new owners: the Costa Rican investment group OSS Inversiones.
FTI is currently in the midst of discussing the debt settlement with oBike’s new majority shareholder, particularly working out the proposed terms for the latter to settle the outstanding claims.
Taylor said that FTI had already provided additional information on claims against oBike to OSS, as requested by the group.
However, a representative from OSS named Samuel Chaves, told The Straits Times that it had yet to receive such information.
“We will continue to liaise with the investor on an agreement, and hopefully at some point in the near future, we will make a public announcement with the investor [on] whether an agreement has been reached,” said Taylor.
For former oBike users with unrefunded deposits, they can still file their claims against oBike at www.obikedepositholders.com/
Featured Image Credit: David Wong / South China Morning Post
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